Another Australian underground beats crew bites the dust: What does it mean for the cultures?


Perth’s DeadWeight crew have just announced their “retirement” after bringing five years of quality underground bass parties to the people of their city. They had their second-last party at their home venue Flyrite and are set to farewell Perth on 10 April 2015.

The last couple of years in Melbourne have seen the demise of Heavy Innit! and Wobble, who brought years of international acts like Loefah, Caspa, Noisia and probably the bulk of buzz names from the UK bass scene. We at Haarp Media (in partnership with bass music producer Warpa!nt) tried our hand at showcasing UK bass act Thelem in Melbourne. We stopped after doing just one event of this kind.

So what stops us from doing events? There’s a few reasons to be named. There’s money and venues for one thing.

There also seems to be limited interest in dubstep now. When observed from the less buzzy standpoint, actual dubstep (as in not Skrillex and electro-oriented step) always did have a limited audience. Older niche genres have become dated and superceded. Many original UK dubstep artists now focus on bringing their bass aesthetic through different hybrids like juke, garage, house and drum and bass. Perhaps there’s a niche to be filled there. If you’re interested in doing this, you’ll need support from players in other cities to split international costs.

And it’s called underground music for a reason, it’s lesser known and limited because it’s more about form and art rather than garnering audience. That means promoters often run a loss to cover the expensive internationals, especially now the US dollar and pound are rising over the Aussie dollar. Limited turn-out and associative problems often burn out promoters too early, Many OG promoters are too old for this shit now. All people seem to want to turn up to are the buzzy sort of popular kid crews and for internationals.

What does this mean for fans of underground electronica?

Well, in Melbourne we’re still powering. Drum and bass is going strong with crews like Twisted Audio and Broken Beat Assault still in the game (who just had two monster parties last night featuring LTJ Bukem and Teebee respectively). The Operatives continue to break ground with their fusion of future beats and bass music. Techno/house events are led by Darkbeat, Funf and Novel.

Smaller crews like Onepuf, Prognosis and Oscillate are breaking ground with loyal audiences with unique approaches and contemporary sounds. City psytrance sounds are being championed by Kinematic Records, Foolproof and Mithya events. More experimental festivals like Square Sounds show that having a fresh idea is still important. Sound system crews like Heartical Hi-Fi are wobbling some fixtures out of place somewhere.

Electronic music has always been the same, and you can nest every single genre back into one of five catagories. Techno/House, Drum and Bass, Hip-hop, experimental/live and Reggae/dub. Everything else is a variant or hybrid of these forms (yes, even psytrance comes back to techno/house variant), and nothing will change in this respect.

Perhaps you disagree with our catagorisation? Please fill us in. Also if we’ve missed out on what you’re doing as a crew, we’d love to hear from you. We extend the invitation to Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide and any other Australian town to tell us what’s up in your burb.

In summary, crews come, crews go. Underground parties, ideals and art are always around despite obstacles. Too many chiefs, not enough Indians also springs to mind when thinking of our current picture too.


One comment

  1. I help run an event as well as play in Perth. It’s sad to know that Dubstep is being phased out. I’m appreciative of all types of music and always have been. But whilst playing as well as being at other events I’ve always noticed the same thing. People don’t like like “old” dubstep, they don’t like anything that doesn’t have a serious “drop”. I’m talking events like bassment, big ape etc here in Perth. Not that it’s a bad thing they’re doing what they feel is right!

    Buts it’s sad to know that people moved to Dubstep because it is now considered “cool” I love playing minimal Dubstep but constantly I see myself being told it’s “boring”. That’s it’s “too slow” which makes me laugh as it’s the same speed as any other Dubstep! But people only “care” about really heavy Dubstep. I wouldn’t even say care though. personally I feel all they’re doing is fitting in. It’s the cool thing to do. But having a competition with your friends on how many drugs you can take and dancing in a certain way to be cool, certainly isn’t cool.

    As much as I hate to say it I feel personally the underground bass scene here in Perth, or even Australia, will struggle big time. I’ve listened to it for years and constantly got told how rubbish it was at the time. I’m not referring to everyone obviously but people that’ve jumped ship and “like” Dubstep now have no musical appreciation or musical knowledge. They lack the real thing any music genre should need. And with lack of appreciation I think the underground scene will stay with a strong fan base. But not in numbers. It kills me to think it’s coming to a dead end but with not enough people to kick start a “movement” as such it will be incredibly hard.

    Shouts to deadweight, vibe merchants and ofcourse the deep end collective for keeping true and pushing the underground scene. Sad to see deadweight go, it really is.


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